More than 1,000 American cities have voluntarily committed themselves to ambitious targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. A recent case study focusing on Allegheny County, Pa., home to Pittsburgh, highlights how hard it will be for some to meet those goals, however.
At first glance, one would think that the county is on track. According to a study published this month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, total carbon dioxide emissions in Allegheny County declined by an average of 1 percent a year from 1970 to 2000. And the Pittsburgh regionís current carbon reduction goals are, conveniently, 1 percent per year through 2023.
The difficulty here is that over the same three decades, Allegheny County lost one-quarter of its population and the bulk of its energy-intensive steel industry; thatís what accounts for the overall decline in fossil fuel emissions. Per-capita emissions were actually unchanged.
If continued economic contraction and depopulation were a policy prescription for the Pittsburgh area ó and itís not ó the targets set through 2023 might seem more achievable.
1. The only thing that has ever been proven to lower CO2 emissions is economic recession.
And in the case of Pittsburgh one might also ask, "If they lost their steel industry, where did it go?" The answer of course is "Asia", for no net reduction in global CO2 emissions whatsoever. Two great carbon-fighters: flim-flam and economic collapse...
When are we going to grow the ovaries to tell the truth?